Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26
What We Need
By Lois Parker Edstrom
Object suggested: A small cactus (houseplant) such as is sold in grocery stores. A household sponge to demonstrate how a cactus soaks up water.
See a picture of saguaro cacti
Mostly we recognize a cactus because of its sharp needles, but a cactus is an interesting plant in other ways as well. A saguaro is a cactus that grows in the western part of the United States. A saguaro cactus can grow to be twenty feet tall. Some saguaro cacti live two hundred years and can grow to fifty feet tall. (Relate the size to something nearby.)
Saguaro cacti grow in the desert where it is very hot and dry. The inside of a saguaro cactus is spongy so that when it rains the cactus soaks up water and stores it inside. After a heavy rain storm a saguaro cactus can soak up a ton of water, enough to last for a year. As you can see this cactus can go for long periods of time without needing extra water.
In the Bible Jesus spoke about giving people what they need. Some criticized him because they saw him having dinner with “sinners,” people who had made mistakes and bad choices. He told them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do” (9:12).
Jesus used this example to teach that those who are sick need a doctor more than those who are well. He explains that those who have not heard about the love of God need to hear about it more than those who have already accepted God’s love.
We can use the example of the cactus. The cactus stores a lot of water inside and can get along in a hot, dry climate much better than plants like corn, beans, carrots, roses, or daisies, which need water on a regular basis. If we had to choose we would give water to those plants that need it most.
This is what Jesus did while he lived among us. His love is offered to everyone. Those who have accepted God’s love have it stored inside. Those who have not heard of God’s love have the greatest need to hear it.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2008, Richard Niell Donovan